Searching for a job can be confusing and time-consuming and for many jobseekers it can be hard to know where to start particularly when searching online. At a time of high unemployment it is understandable that anyone looking for work will jump at the first role they see that suits them or the first offer they get that will pay the bills.

If you are not in acute and immediate financial difficulty it is worth taking some time to really think about the type of job that you want at this stage of your career; the pay, hours and working conditions that you will be happy with and indeed the type of company or organisation you want to work for. Once you have done this it is time to start networking.

Start your search by looking at yourself first. Think about the experience and qualifications you have as well as all the skills and competencies you have built up so far in your career. Remember that experience and skills developed outside of the workplace are also a very important part of the portfolio that you bring to any new employer. Think about what, or indeed who, motivates you in the workplace and think about what is missing in your current role. Check out the Jobseekers section of www.careersportal.ie for some self-assessment tools and lots of up-to-date information.

Start exploring the types of roles that you would like and the type of companies you would like to work for. Get an idea of what is involved in such roles and typical conditions and salaries. That way you will be better informed before you start applying and therefore able to narrow down the roles you are applying for. Sites such as www.indeed.com, www.monster.ie, www.irishjobs.ie, and www.publicjobs.ie will give you an idea of who is hiring and the roles that are being advertised. You can delve deeper to explore the details to see if the organisation and the role is what you are looking for.

Always keep an eye on local and national print media as well as listening to local radio stations for weekly job adverts. When you start your job search online use keywords that help to narrow down the roles that you are interested in. For example, if you have worked in computers you might want to include the computer languages you have worked with, or in payroll it may be the financial packages you have used. Break down and simplify any of the jargon that you find difficult to understand on job search websites. Google anything that you don’t understand so that you have a clear idea of what is being looked for before you consider applying. Don’t be put off by the jargon; think about ways that your skills might actually match the job specification.

If you are in the market for a job then you need to let people know. Networking is one of the most effective way for jobseekers to find roles. Use the contacts you have in your family, circle of friends, former colleagues, those who you meet through hobbies and pastimes as well as those who you socialise with. Make a list of all the people you know who may be helpful in building your network as you work towards getting your ideal job. Reach out to them and be specific about the type of role you want.

Having a profile on LinkedIn gives you access to a global network which will greatly enhance the people you can reach out to and also facilitates employers in connecting with you. Connecting socially on a professional platform used my millions of employers and employees means that the world really is literally at your feet in your search for your ideal job. In coming weeks we will explore what to include in your CV, cover letter and LinkedIn profile, and how to best prepare for face-to-face and online interviews.

Niamh Dwyer is a Guidance Counsellor in Scoil Phobail Sliabh Luachra, Rathmore & PRO of Kerry Branch of Guidance Counsellors. She can be contacted on careerfocusnow@gmail.com.